§ 59. Mr. HACKETT
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether a strike for an increase of wages has taken place at the Department's sawmills, Dundrum, county Tipperary, for an increase of wages by way of war bonus at the rate of 5s. per week; whether he can state the rate of wages paid at the sawmills previous to the cessation of work on 7th February last; whether, in view of the increased cost of living and the inconvenience caused by the stoppage of work at the sawmills to the agricultural interest of the district who require timber for fencing purposes in connection with the scheme of the Department for increased tillage, as well as the failure of the mills to meet the requirements of the military authorities for railway sleepers and scantlings for the erection of huts and shelters, he will immediately concede the demands of the employés for a living wage?
§ Mr. DUKE
The employés at the sawmill at Dundrum, county Tipperary, applied for an all-round increase in wages of 5s. per week. The maximum increase authorised for the period of the War was offered, but the employés declined to accept the offer and ceased work after notice on the 7th instant. They have now resumed work at the rates offered.
§ 72. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will state the amount of salary and expenses now being drawn by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction; the average number of hours he devotes to his duties daily; the average number of letters dealt with daily by him and his assistants; who supervises letters bearing his name typed with no indication of supervision; who is responsible for such letters sent on the 7th and 10th instant to a Westmeath gentleman, both containing statements contrary to fact and identical 1685 word for word, notwithstanding additional information supplied in the interval, forbidding the sale of a fat sow that can breed no more, though the owner desires to replace it by a breeding animal; and why the Department in effect thwarts this?
§ Mr. DUKE
The salary of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture is £1,800, with travelling expenses, etc., at the rate sanctioned for the post. In addition to official work necessarily performed outside the office the Secretary at present attends the office for from 10 to 12 hours daily. The average number of letters received by the Department daily is approximately 2,300, in addition to various reports, returns, semi-official and personal communications, etc. In cases where the Department find it necessary to issue letters and other communications in circular form with the Secretary's name typed thereon, the chief officer of the branch concerned is responsible for the supervision of such communications. The case of the fat sow was dealt with according to the rules of the Department.